The Hazards of a National Geographic Photographer...

Reality Check

This page is dedicated to Wes Skiles who died doing the work he loved. Sadie Quarrier, senior photo editor, National Geographic Magazine says:   “I was lucky enough to work with Wes as his photo editor on (his) “Bahamas Blue Holes” story for NGM. He was deeply passionate about diving, exploring, photographing and protecting the waterways… Wes was big-hearted and humble yet extremely driven. He was doggedly determined to produce the best possible article on these caves he called home. He dared to dream big, and no budget or contract would stop him from going after a shot he felt we needed, even if it was on his own dime…”

There have been other deaths over the years and many serious injuries. The posts below are recent survey responses from 45 photographers about some of the hazards encountered while on assignment for the National Geographic Society. The numbers represent individual incidents.

It's a Glamorous Life

  • 2

    Held at Gunpoint

  • 30

    Wound Infection

  • 7

    Car or Bus Crash

  • 3

    Trips into Chernobyl Reactor

  • 1

    Hotel Surrounded by Rebels

  • 1

    Out of Air Diving Under Sea Ice

  • 2

    Stoned by Religious Group

  • 19

    Severe Dehydration

  • 8

    Giardia

  • 1

    Broken Tail Bone

  • 1

    Lost at Sea

  • 1

    Land on Rock Ledge After 90 Foot Fall

  • 1

    Paraglider Crash Landing in Ocean

  • 9

    Hypothermia

  • 2

    Groped

  • 2

    Fall Into Crevasse

  • 6

    Broken Ribs

  • 12

    Falls

  • 9

    Groped

  • 10

    Rope Burn

  • 1

    Out of Air Diving Under Oil Rig

  • 8

    Assorted Animal Attacks

  • 5

    Malaria

  • 1

    Strongyloide Invasion

  • 2

    Broken Nose

  • 1

    Dengue Fever

  • 21

    Threatened / Detained / Abducted

  • 3

    Extreme Toxins

  • 33

    Arrest or House Arrest

  • 13

    Robbed

  • 1

    Paraglider Crash Landing on Sea Ice

  • 1

    Viper in Camera Bag

  • 2

    Lost in Andes

  • 7

    Dislocations

  • 2

    Temporary Blindness

  • 1

    Attack by 9,000 pound Elephant Seal

  • 1

    Hunted with Bows and Arrows

  • 4

    Tear Gassed

  • 2

    Seat Belt Releases with Helicopter Tipped Over Volcano

  • 1

    Spitting Cobra Attacks

  • 20

    Amoebic Dysentery

  • 12

    Severe Insect Problems

  • 21

    Paraglider Crash

  • 4

    Burns

  • 13

    Run Checkpoint

  • 4

    Broken Bones

  • 1

    Paraglider Crash Landing in Tree

  • 1

    Flesh Eating Parasites

  • 1

    Held at Knifepoint

  • 2

    Teargassed

  • 1

    Stabbed

  • 1

    Chased by Crocodile

  • 3

    Beaten

  • 1

    Acid Dripping Caves

  • 1

    Penis Fish

  • 1

    Lost on Arctic Ice

  • 3

    Chased by Wild Elephant

  • 1

    Diagnosed PTSD

  • 2

    Buried in Avalanche

  • 1

    Punched in Face

  • 90

    Severe Diarrhea

  • 2

    Assault by Florida panther. 2 photographers, 2 assignments, same panther.

  • 1

    Streaming Blood While Hanging from Harness at 1500 feet

  • 1

    Meningitis

  • 29

    Frostbite (23 for one photographer)

  • 6

    Random Assault

  • 9

    Venomous Bites

  • 3

    Imprisoned

  • 1

    Loa-Loa Worm in Eye

  • 5

    Robbed

  • 16

    Various Parasites

  • 1

    Blinded by Wasps

  • 1

    Scaffolding Collapse

  • 1

    Bit by Ticks (in my penis)

  • 5

    Plane or Helicopter Crash